BOSTON – 13 seconds. That is how much Hadley, Michigan native Sue Imig missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2010. But this year is a different story.
“I made it,” said Imig. “Dreams come true.”
It is a milestone marathon for Imig, and it is also a milestone marathon for Flushing, Michigan native Richard Wallen. This is his 100th career marathon. He is about to celebrate his 75th birthday, and said he is competing in this marathon again because the people in Boston know running.
“This is the place to be,” Wallen said. “This is the mecca of running right here. This is it. That’s why I am here to run my 100th marathon.”
Imig and Wallen traveled with more Michigan runners. All of them spent years training in the Michigan cold, but that is not the only memory etched in their brains. The runners remember exactly where they were when the Boston bombings took place.
“I was about three quarters of a mile out,” said Fred Smith, who hails from Flint, Michigan. “I had family that was down near finish line; they were much more concerned than I was. I was safe, they weren’t. I feel bad that they had to experience that.”
But this year the experience is different. The theme is “Boston Strong.”
“It’s like defiance,” said Mark Bauman, from Flushing, Michigan. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to do this. We’re going to show them that we’re stronger than anybody thinks we are.”
Bauman has run more than 150 marathons. He also owns “Bauman’s Running and Walking Shop” in Flint.
No doubt these are tough athletes, but there is still a lot of emotion.
The finish line is a sacred place this year. In a city that was rocked, tested and resolved. Boston is stronger than ever – and these Michigan runners are ready to prove they are, too.